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Cal Football

Hearing From the Newest Bears: Cal Tight End Jermaine Terry

March 4, 2021

One of the biggest signees in recent years was local 4 star tight end Jermaine Terry‍, a key part of Cal’s 20th-rated 2021 class this season.

The former 4 star tight end had offers from bluebloods throughout the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida and Pac-12 rivals Oregon, UW, UCLA and more. But ultimately, Terry chose to stay home and rep the local program at Cal and be close to his family and friends.

“Yeah. I mean, it's great,” said Terry. “Really just to have my family here, and to be able to be an inspiration to everybody. That's been great. Really being able to embrace that hometown hero thing that they put on me. I'm just enjoying it. Really just trying to learn the plays, to get it down, have fun. That's it.

Being right down the road in Richmond, Terry was a fixture in the coaching offices at Cal as a recruit, steadily building the relationship. How many times did he estimate he visited?

"Man, I don't know. It's over 20, for sure," said Terry. "I would just come here just to catch the vibe, you know what I'm saying? And just get a feel for the place. But it's great being here."

"Jermaine is a big, physical guy," said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox "He's got great size and I think he's learning a lot at a rapid pace.

“It's kind of like drinking from a fire hose for a lot of these youngsters. We haven't slowed down in terms of installation. We've got so many veteran players and we go quickly on installation, so sometimes for those young guys, offense or defense, the multiples can grow. There's a lot to think about. As long as he continues to work at it, from the meeting room, to the practice field, to the weight room, we're going to continue to work with him. We’re excited that he's with us. He's got a ton of tools. We're going to continue to push him, and he's got a great attitude so far."

After committing early and embracing the hometown hero label and helping recruit other Bay Area players to join him, Terry gave serious consideration to a late push from ASU before deciding to stick with the Bears.

"To be honest, going through the recruitment process, I'd always liked Cal,” said Terry. “With them having such prestigious education, that was very big for me. I really can't find a better combination of academics and sports. So that was really the biggest thing, to be honest. And just what I was feeling from the coaching staff was very true and sincere. And like, when I was on the phone with Coach Wilcox, just talking things over him about everything before it came down to the wire, he was very respectful of everything that was going on. He didn't go on social media, I didn't grow social media. It was just all like mutual respect. And that's when I really found out what type of man he was. So I felt like this was the best place for me to be. And that's why I'm here now.

Who did Terry get closes with during the recruiting process?

"I would say mainly Akili Calhoun," said Terry. "I was talking to Makai Polk earlier since we're from the same city. I know Orin Patu a little bit. And I also knew Pat Hisatake, going against him at various camps. Just being able to compete against him was great.”

Terry is part of Cal’s biggest early entry class at nine, with six fellow prep recruits, greyshirt OLB Nate Rutchena and soph transfer safety Ray Woodie.

"At first when we got here, it was just us, " said Terry. "So we were all we had. We all came together and met each other. It's really been great so far. I feel like this class is be going to be the base of the program moving forward. So when it's our time to be the big dogs, I feel like we'll be great because we can set a great example for the younger guys in years to come."

One of the appealing elements of Cal’s recruiting pitch to Terry was offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s strong desire to make the tight end position a potent weapon in the Cal offense and Terry was just what the doctor ordered with his combination of size, strength and athleticism.

"I was talking to (OC Bill) Musgrave a lot before I came here," said Terry. Actually, he was one of the main reasons I decided to come here. Just his offensive scheme. Dude's a genius. He loves to use tight ends. So, that was great.

“So far, I've just been trying to learn my role and just get the plays down and just have fun,” said Terry. “That's really it. Not trying to overthink stuff too much. But yeah, Musgrave Is a great guy and I communicate with him often.

When asked about the staff’s vision for him as a tight end, Terry noted that they’re sticking to the basics right now.

"They really haven't talked with me about that at all," said Terry. "It's just me trying to learn the plays and trying to learn my role really. I think I can do everything. I know I can do everything I actually have. I'm just ready to get better and improve my skillset and contribute to this team in any way I can.

Terry checked in a massive 6-4/275 when he arrived at campus -a weight he felt comfortable at but is now in the process of trimming.

"Well, it was great to come in a little bit bigger," said Terry. "I'm cutting down now, just down to 268, But I'm moving great. I think the ideal weight for me is anywhere between 255 and 260. I just love carrying that weight cause it helps me block and I just like running through a guy's face mask. Nothing better than running through a guy's mask."

Count Terry as a fan of new strength and conditioning coach Brian Johnson and staff, who’s infectious style of leadership is motivating his new cast of players.

“Oh Coach B's great, to be honest," said Terry. "He's always pushing us. It's very helpful, to be honest, giving me words of wisdom and telling me not to be too hard on myself. I think just mainly around the program there's just a new sense of urgency, I would say. Everybody's trying to contribute in any way they can. We're all get bigger. We're all getting stronger and we're all just hoping for better things. So Coach B and his whole staff have been all great.”

As for his goals heading into his freshman season?

"Just contribute in any way I can and have fun,' said Terry. "That's the biggest thing. Not trying be too hard on myself. You know, mistakes are gonna happen. You know, I'm a freshman, but just trying to learn my role and just contribute anywhere I can and just have fun. That's the biggest thing for me.”

Other stories:

Cal Men's Swimming Earns Pac-12 Four-Peat

Spring Practice Day 5 -- Musgrave Talks About QB Competiton

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